“Baby, you need to stop getting upset at all the small things and reacting so poorly when things get hard. You have no control over what happens or how people treat you. The only thing you have the power to control is your response and attitude. You can let those small things ruin your day and ultimately lead to poor choices, or you can choose to be joyful and know in your heart that you are doing the right thing and actually growing as a person from it. I know it seems hard at times, but all you have to do is close your eyes…take a deep breath…and ask God for help. I promise, He is listening and wants to help you. You weren’t meant to do this without Him. You can’t do this without Him…”
The Same Struggles
Each word I spoke scraped several sensitive areas inside my heart before coming out of my mouth. Here I was, feeling beat down from circumstances of the day, instructing my daughter to let go of all the same little things to which I was tightly gripping. Sure, what I had been struggling with seemed to be on a greater level, but are our battles really all that different?
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all…”
1 Corinthians 10:12-13a
You see, friends, when we remove all the smoke and mirrors disguising the core issues, our struggles are no different than our children’s struggles. After all, fear is fear…jealousy is jealousy…insecurity is insecurity…doubt is doubt…sin is sin. I think too many times we try to justify our reactions or complicate situations more than they ought to be, when it really just comes down to the struggle between flesh and Spirit.
“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind controlled by sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”
A Choice in the Way We Respond
So just as we give our children a choice to do what is right and respond in a Christlike way, God has given us that very same choice. We can choose to respond in our flesh and in our own strength, or we can “close our eyes…take a deep breath…and ask God for help” because “I promise, He is listening and wants to help us. We weren’t meant to do this without Him. We can’t do this without Him.”
“… And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
-I Corinthians 10:13b
“Casting all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
–1 Peter 5:7